Vietnam added 17 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients to its tally on Thursday, all of them Vietnamese returnees from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and detected in a centralized isolation zone, according to the Ministry of Health.
The national count now stands at 288, with 233 having recovered and no virus-caused fatality.
The Vietnamese government arranged for flight VN0088, operated by national carrier Vietnam Airlines, to repatriate 297 citizens from the UAE, at a time when all commercial flights between Vietnam and other countries have been suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The flight landed at Can Tho International Airport in the namesake city, located in the Mekong Delta, on Sunday.
The 297 returnees were immediately sent to a quarantine zone, pursuant to regulations applicable to all international arrivals, in Bac Lieu Province, over 100km south of Can Tho.
They were all tested in the zone and 17 results returned positive for the virus on Thursday, the Pasteur Institute in Ho Chi Minh City said, adding that the remaining 280 people tested negative.
A family of three, whose tests came back positive, had stayed with a confirmed patient in Dubai, the health ministry said.
All 17 patients, including a baby boy born in 2020, are being treated in stable health at a general hospital in Bac Lieu Province.
The Vietnam Airlines flight crew have also been quarantined.
Among Vietnam’s 288 patients are 148 imported cases isolated upon entry and 140 local infections.
The Southeast Asian country has reported no community-transmitted case for 21 days.
Vietnam will coordinate more evacuation flights to bring back citizens from foreign countries, the health ministry said.
All returnees will have to be quarantined for 14 days upon entry to prevent community transmission.
Vietnam has conducted tests on 261,004 samples while presently quarantining 20,942 people, according to the health ministry's latest figures.